Murdoch’s The Australian -- along with The Times in London and The Wall Street Journal in New York -- has been proclaimed a glittering jewel, at this morning's post-results analysts briefing. It received lavish praise from CEO, Robert Thomson and Chief Financial Officer, Susan Panuccio (an old News Corp Australia hand) for achieving an industry rarity: higher revenue and higher earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), and higher digital subscriptions. A boon at a time of gloom and doom in the print business. We can’t wait for the self congratulatory pats on the back from Australia’s home of right wing lunacy.
The 2016-17 results though show that News Corp is rapidly becoming a digital real estate business (which is where there is growth), supplemented by book publishing. Judging by the weak revenue and earnings from the news and information department and cable TV (Fox Sports in Australia and Sky News), the rest of the business is marking time or going backwards. And that was reflected in the results as its fading news and information business held back stronger contributions from its digital real estate businesses in Australia and the US. News said the earnings from Move in the US and REA Group in Australia now account for “nearly 40% of profits”.